3) David Trezeguet
Like his team-mate Robert Pires, David Trezeguet also was part of the very dominant France squad, which won the FIFA World Cup in 1998 and went on to lift the Euros in 2000. The French-born striker began his footballing career in Argentina, where he grew up and played for Platense, but soon moved back to his country of birth. He joined AS Monaco and made 113 appearances for the French club, scoring 60 goals. His spell at Monaco caught the eye of the French Football Federation (FFF), and he was selected for the 1997 FIFA World Youth Championship. His performances in the Championship earned him a place in the 1998 FIFA World Cup when manager Aime Jacquet gave young players including Trezeguet, Thierry Henry, and Patrick Vieira a chance to prove themselves.
After winning the World Cup, he was again included in the squad for the 2000 UEFA European Championship (The Euro’s). He eventually justified his selection when he scored the goal in the final against Italy in extra time, which Robert Pires assisted. Fresh from winning the Euros, he soon became hot property, and a few clubs were behind the striker’s signature. Juventus won the race and signed him in 2000, and he spent ten years with the Old Lady; he exploded and became one of the best strikers in Italy. After spending a few years with other clubs, he came to India and joined FC Pune City and retired as a player after only one season with the ISL club.
2) Kostas Katsouranis
Kostas Katsouranis, the Greek defensive midfielder featured in the notable Greece side, which triumphed in the European Championship in 2004 and won the competition despite being the underdogs. Kostas had only broken into the national team in 2002 but was one of the critical factors for Greece’s success in the 2004 Euro’s. He was the focal point in the three-men midfield which included Angelos Basinas and captain Theodoros Zagorakis. His defensive work, coupled with his speed, strength, and excellent technical ability, aided the other two midfielders to work their magic and dominate the midfield against more vigorous opponents. After the 2004 Euro’s triumph, he became a regular for the national team. Also, he played a massive role in helping Greece qualify for the 2008 European Championships.
He went on to captain the national side and ended his international career with over 115 appearances for his country. He spent most of his playing days in Greece and played for a few clubs, including PAOK, AEK Athens, and Panathinaikos, to name a few. He also spent four years at Benfica in Portugal from 2006 to 2009 and was also named Benfica Player of the Year in 2009. In 2014, Kostas, like many other foreigners, proceeded to ply their trade in the Indian Super League (ISL). He signed for Pune City and finished the season as the fifth-highest scorer despite playing the deeper midfield role. His goal against Atletico de Kolkata, which Pune won 3-1, won him the Goal of the Season award. But, only after one season, he returned to Greece and retired in 2015.
1) Nicolas Anelka
The talented forward who only made his debut for the national team in 1998, was quite scintillating for France in the 2000 European Championship, especially in the group stages, when he scored their opening goal against Russia and scored a brace against England in France’s 2-0 win at the Wembley Stadium. Regarded as one of the most promising players of his generation, Anelka was often thought of as France’s next big generational player, along with Thierry Henry. Still, due to injuries and disciplinary issues, he never lived up to the expectations. Nonetheless, he had an excellent career with various top clubs across Europe, including Chelsea, Real Madrid, Juventus, and Paris Saint-Germain.
The French forward found most success during his stints in England, first with Manchester City and then with Chelsea. He scored 45 and 59 goals for City and Chelsea in 103 and 184 matches, respectively. He also won the Premier League twice, with Arsenal in 1998 and Chelsea in 2010. Anelka signed for Indian Super League (ISL) outfit Mumbai City FC in its inaugural season. In the following season, due to reasons, his move to Algerian side NA Hussein Dey fell through, and he returned to Mumbai and joined the Islanders as a player-manager.
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